Virtue Enough

Updated 2021-12-26

The Story of this Beer

"I am patriot enough to take the pains to bring this useful invention into fashion in England, and I should not fail to write to some of our doctors very particularly about it, if I knew any one of them that I thought had virtue enough to destroy such a considerable branch of their revenue, for the good of mankind." - Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

Ordinarily, I have a name at the same time or before I develop a recipe. I had finished the first batch of this beer without naming it. I asked Andrea for suggestions. She waved her hand around, taking in everything around us and the world generally. "The fix for all of this," she said. That was enough inspiration to research and come across the story of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, one of the first advocates for immunization. I think there are elements of this quote that also speak to the values we have tried to hold through during this modern pandemic.

I designed this beer originally as a sibling to Top of the World. I wanted a session ale with similar drinkability yet with more of the character found in British styles: herbal and earthy hops paired with a more expressive yeast. I started a new experiment with the first batch, to harvest yeast while still viable from a fermenting beer to then pitch into the next beer. The received wisdom is to serially pitch from weaker to stronger, from lighter colored to darker.

The initial batch turned out wonderfully, pretty much exactly what I had in mind when designing the recipe. The yeast I harvested went into a batch of A Sprig of Grass from which I harvested and pitched again into a batch of True Politeness. All three beers fermented well, so much so I will incorporate yeast harvesting into my production schedule. I used Fullers in this beer. It is one of my favorites, I like the idea of one day maybe keeping it going indefinitely, to evolve my own house strain.